Gender-based Violence

Sexual Violence Project

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In addition to women and girls, some men and boys, including persons with diverse sexual orientation and gender identity/expression (SOGIE), are targeted for sexual violence in many conflicts. They are vulnerable to sexual violence, abuse and exploitation during flight and in displacement as well. Unaccompanied boys, boys and men with disabilities, boys and men in detention, transgender persons, adolescents with diverse SOGIE, and sex workers, among others, are particularly at risk.

In humanitarian settings, sensitized services for all sexual violence survivors are frequently weak or ad hoc. Targeted protection mechanisms are also not systematically in place. Without appropriate, dignified care, survivors may suffer debilitating psychological, physical and/or social consequences. The wives, daughters, mothers, and other female family and community members are also impacted by male sexual victimization.

In January 2018, the Women's Refugee Commission launched a three-year project exploring sexual violence against persons who identify as male or were once designated as such, including cisgender heterosexual men and boys, gay and bisexual men, trans women, and others with diverse SOGIE. The impact of male sexual victimization on cisgender women and girls is also being examined. The project involves undertaking research in three refugee settings, piloting community-based projects designed to facilitate service uptake, facilitating inter-agency coordination, and developing field-friendly tools and guidance.

READ MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT: Ethics and accountability in researching sexual violence against men and boys.

READ THE REPORT: 'It’s Happening to Our Men as Well': Sexual Violence Against Rohingya Men and Boys

READ THE REPORT: "More Than One Million Pains": Sexual Violence Against Men and Boys on the Central Mediterranean Route to Italy

READ THE REPORT: “We Have a Broken Heart”: Sexual Violence against Refugees in Nairobi and Mombasa, Kenya

INTER-AGENCY COORDINATION: IAWG Task Team on Male Survivors of Sexual Violence

WRC’s work with men and boys is feminist in its approach and prioritizes accountability to women and girls. We do this by:

  • Exploring the ways in which sexual violence against men and boys impacts the lives of women and girls;
  • Exploring the ways in which sexual violence against men and boys intersects with violence against women and girls;
  • Advocating for services for and attention to female, male, and LGBTI+ survivors;
  • Working to dispel the myth that post-sexual violence services are widely available for women and girls but not for men and boys: across humanitarian settings, they frequently require strengthening for all survivors; and
  • Including experts on violence against women and girls and persons with diverse SOGIESC on our Global Advisory Committee.


For more information, contact Dr. Sarah Chynoweth, Sexual Violence Project Director/Consultant at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.